France

On this day: Alfred Dreyfus is arrested for spying

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The Dreyfus Affair will go down in history as one of the great injustices in European Jewish history and as one of the events that spurred on the Zionist movement.

The French army were concerned that someone in their ranks was passing military information to Germany. Suspicion fell on a Jewish artillery officer, a graduate of the elite Polytechnic Grande Ecole, named Albert Dreyfus.

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Dovish? J Call Paris opens with a ruck

By Natasha Lehrer, October 14, 2010

The launch of the French arm of J Call, the European Jewish Call to Reason, descended into chaos last week after 30 men from the Ligue de Defense Juive, a militant right-wing Jewish group, infiltrated the meeting.

The group attempted to drown out the speakers with boos and shouts until the police were called to escort the men out of the hall.

J Call, a dovish Zionist campaign group modelling itself on the American
J Street, launched as a movement at the European Parliament in May.

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Fears for security of European Jews

By Ian Sparks and Anshel Pfeffer, September 17, 2010

Community leaders have expressed concern that European Jews are being targeted by terrorists after it was revealed that suicide bombers trained in Gaza had planned to bomb a community event in Paris.

"This would seem to be exactly the sort of threat that shows why CST and the Jewish community need to remain vigilant," said Mark Gardner, spokesman for the Community Security Trust.

He added that the organisation will seek to learn "every possible lesson" from the foiled attack and share these with the community and the police.

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East End star returns

September 16, 2010

Chazan Moshe Dubiner will make a sentimental return to London's East End to officiate on Yom Kippur at Fieldgate Street Synagogue in Aldgate.

The chazan began a career which has taken him to France, Israel and America at the Great Synagogue in Commercial Road.

Fieldgate Street's Raymond Singer said that news of the guest cantor had led the shul to anticipate a male attendance in excess of 40, more than double the usual number.

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Holocaust teacher banned for 'Nazi obsession'

By Ian Sparks, September 7, 2010

A Jewish history teacher has been suspended for "brainwashing" her pupils with too much information about the Holocaust.

Catherine Pederzoli, 58, was investigated by education ministry chiefs in France after accusations that she was obsessed with the Nazi gas chambers.

A report by the ministry has now accused her of lacking "distance, neutrality and secularism" in teaching about World War Two.

It also said she spent too much time organising trips for her teenage students to visit the death camps in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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Roma deportations not like Holocaust roundups

By Shirli Sitbon, September 7, 2010

French community leaders have spoken out against the targeting of the Roma people for deportation, but rejected comparisons with the roundup of the Jews in the 1930s.

"We can't accept discrimination like the one the Roma community is facing. It's a European problem and it must be addressed on that level," said Richard Prasquier, head of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

"But I was shocked by certain comparisons. The situation today is nothing like the one under the Vichy regime."

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Holocaust-era deportation archives to be opened

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Records of Jewish people who were deported from France during the Holocaust are to be revealed following a landmark decision by California legislators.

The French state train company SNCF is expected to place a bid to construct a high-speed railway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But last week, in a bill sponsored by Jewish lawmaker Bob Blumenfield, the California state legislature ruled that all companies bidding for the project had to disclose whether they had a direct role in Holocaust transportation between 1942 and 1944.

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Wiesel calls on France to stop Roma deportations

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Elie Wiesel has condemned the French government’s decision to expel Roma immigrants but cautioned that a comparison with the Nazi round-ups was not appropriate.

The Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor described the repatriation of Roma people from France to Romania and Bulgaria as unacceptable.

As a former refugee, Mr Wiesel expressed his solidarity with the Roma and called on French president Nicolas Sarkozy to stop the crackdown.

But he also said: "It is necessary to be careful with the language.

“These Roma are sent to Romania, to Hungary, not to Auschwitz.

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Gilad Shalit's fifth birthday in captivity marked

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

A rally marking the 24th birthday of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has attracted thousands of people in Jerusalem.

Aviva Shalit used the occasion of her son’s fifth birthday in captivity to appeal to Benajmin Netanyahu to do more to secure Gilad’s freedom.

Mrs Shalit has been camped outside of the Israeli prime minister’s home since June in an attempt to pressure the government into striking a deal for Gilad’s release.

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French battle to bring back 'foreign' names

By Shirli Sitbon, August 5, 2010

Dozens of French Jews have been fighting a battle that few people were aware of - they've been trying to get their family names back.

Years ago, their parents changed their "foreign-sounding'' names so they would sound French because they dreaded anti-Semitism.

But their children and grandchildren see their old names as a trail of their family history. The problem is, French law doesn't allow someone to revert to a former name. And on the rare occasions requests are considered, officials insist that the whole family must agree.

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